“It is both sad and discouraging to see Dragon, a whale we have followed from her birth through to maturity, entangled and in such poor health,” said Hamilton, who manages the North Atlantic right whale photo-identification catalogue.
“The hope for this species rides on the broad backs of these calving females. I fear we will lose this whale just as she enters what should be the prime of her reproductive life,” he added.
Knowlton said the entanglement could have occurred anywhere, illustrating the need to implement broad-scale changes to fishing gear quickly.
The aquarium has documented over 1,500 entanglements since 1980 and has observed a steadily increasing level of related severe injuries and deaths.
“In fact, 86.1 percent of right whales have been entangled at least once with more than half of them entangled twice or more, some as many as eight times over the course of their lives,” the aquarium stated.